Naomi Osaka overcame an early setback Wednesday before continuing her Australian Open warm-up in winning fashion, beating Britain’s Katie Boulter 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 to advance to the quarterfinals of the Gippsland Trophy in Melbourne.
A day after playing her first competitive match in roughly five months, the world No. 3 struggled in the opening set against No. 371 Boulter, who was coming off a win against 48th-ranked American Coco Gauff.
The 23-year-old Osaka seized control of the contest from the second set, however, closing it out in 1 hour, 47 minutes and extending her unbeaten run to 13 matches.
“I like playing long matches because I feel like I can gauge the condition of the court and that my fitness gets better. I played a short match yesterday, so maybe subconsciously, I felt like I needed to play a long match today,” Osaka said on court after the match.
Osaka is aiming to win her second Australian Open title, after winning in 2019, when the tournament begins next Monday.
Australian Open organizers have delayed the start of the Grand Slam tournament by three weeks because of safety concerns amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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